Our Thinking

It’s the ease of walking through a grocery aisle they’ve shopped time and again, the audible “agh” of delight when they pluck farm-fresh produce from the shelf, or the instant gratification of snapping that perfect piece of produce up at a deep discount. These are a few of the signs that your shopper is satisfied with a pleasurable shopping experience.

But thanks to changing shopper profiles/typologies, many global grocers are finding it harder to satisfy the appetite of today’s shoppers. Shoppers are more adventurous, aware, tech-savvy, and intelligent customers than in times past.

It’s no secret that the customer experience begins before a customer even sets foot inside a grocery store and continues long after they leave. Yet many grocers aren’t delivering as much as they could be on the things that matter, especially in-store. While 80% of retailers believe that they deliver a superior customer experience, only 8% of their customers agree. This indicates a huge gap between retailers’ perceptions and their consumer mindshare reality.

Why are consumers craving more than their grocers are offering them? How can grocers better satisfy shopper needs to maximize revenue and loyalty? Based on research, Watt believes that a few trends could be feeding into the perception vs. reality gap.

1. The demographics of primary shoppers (the budget holders and decision makers) are shifting.

Today, more men grocery shop than in times past. In fact, according to a recent Mintel study, men in approximately 40% of Canadian households have taken on that responsibility. Similar numbers have been found for male grocery shoppers in the U.S. Originally secondary shoppers who are more prone to impulse buying, men are sharing the traditionally female role of primary household purchaser. Grocers need a deeper understanding of this type of shopper and deliver more in-store solutions that cater to the needs of the male demographic.

2. New Age grocery shoppers are craving a throwback to traditional store mechanics.

Consumers love convenience. But they are yearning for much of what has been lost, over the years, by modernization. Greater value delivered by more customized service, authenticity, and an enhanced level of knowledge and expertise are making their way back into the decision process. What is old is new again, but updated to match the needs of today’s shoppers.

3. Everyone, and we mean everyone, is influenced by Millennials.

Millennials are a hot topic, and for good reason: They’re not just active consumers, but research reveals that older generations are influenced by Millennial-inspired behavior. Millennials are also more health-conscious than ever, which leads other generations to see the benefits of purchasing more healthy foods. Today, all shoppers want to be like the Millennial shopper. And since they are driving the behavior of all generations, grocers create an increase in appetite for everyone.

Maximizing and measuring your customer’s Pleasure Index

While each brand will likely take a different approach, creating true pleasure starts with measuring the importance of experiential drivers around quality, delight, selection, and cause. Experiential drivers need to be prioritized against functional drivers like price and convenience to understand how to influence shopper behavior.

Working with clients like Longo’s in Canada and Market 32 in the U.S., Watt recognized the need to measure the mechanics of shopper’s pleasure before, during, and after their store visit. By implementing what we call the Pleasure Index—a tool to measure what delivers pleasure for different retailers, we discovered interesting takeaways. Getting the customer experience right leads to real gains: loyalty of customers increased by a whopping 229%, basket size increased by 163%, and recommendations to friends increased by 124%.

Experience matters. Multiple factors can be manipulated to differentiate, but it is important that all support the brand’s value proposition. With 74% of retailers believing that developing a more engaging in-store customer experience will be critical in the next five years, grocers will need to create a deeper sense of satisfaction by determining where their in-store customer experience can be improved. Research that shows that it takes approximately 12 positive experiences to make up for one negative experience, so it’s well worth working toward reaching the top of shopper’s Pleasure Index.